This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2021-2022 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Advanced study in medicine and public health is available through a dual degree program offered to medical students with the M.P.H. program in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, in the School of Medicine. The dual degree M.D. and M.P.H. program allows students to earn two degrees in five years with a reduction of nine credits in the M.P.H. degree requirements, due to applicable course work completed in the M.D. curriculum, reducing the time to earning the M.P.H. degree.  

The M.D./M.P.H. dual degree program provides an opportunity for medical students who wish to pursue a public health or research-oriented career to graduate from medical school trained in both clinical and preventive, population-oriented medicine. The program offers concentrations in epidemiology and applied public health. The M.P.H. program trains students to develop educational competencies established by the program’s accrediting body, the Council on Education for Public Health. These competencies may be viewed on the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health website.

Graduates from this program gain insight into population health issues and the role of social determinants of health in health outcomes. They also learn to select and apply appropriate epidemiological methods. The program is well-suited for students who wish to work in preventive medicine, primary care, research, community-based health centers and state and local health departments. The Master of Public Health program boasts experiential learning, a highly interactive environment, accessible and approachable faculty, and student involvement in research and community-based projects.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree program are to provide students with the skills required to advance to positions as public health practitioners in a broad spectrum of positions and settings, preparing graduates trained in medicine who also can:

  • Apply epidemiological research methods
  • Collect, analyze and evaluate public health or patient population data
  • Administer patient and community health promotion programs
  • Plan, implement and evaluate public health interventions
  • Apply results of evaluations and data analyses to policy development as necessary
  • Promote public health through educational campaigns

The structure of the program provides a framework for the progressive development of a mastery of the current state of the subject matter of public health and an ability to synthesize and apply this information to the identification of key areas of practice and research in public health and medicine.

Among the many benefits offered by participation in the dual degree program are the following:

  • Students earn two degrees in a reduced period of time (the M.P.H. degree traditionally requires two calendar years to complete).
  • Students may increase competitiveness for residency placements by holding a graduate degree in public health.
  • Students will be able to apply research methods and analyze large data sets, preparing them to contribute as research team members and to further knowledge in their chosen medical or population health focus area(s).
  • Students will have the skills to assess the impact of social determinants of health on population health outcomes and the effectiveness of health promotion programs and interventions.

The diplomas for this dual degree program are awarded simultaneously upon completion of the requirements of both degree programs.

Student learning outcomes

The student learning outcomes described on the M.P.H. program concentration pages also apply to M.D.-M.P.H. students.